Residents of Region 10, Sub Region Two are calling for the decentralization of social services in their communities. At present, there are no School Welfare Officer, no Child Protection Officer nor Probation Officer stationed in Kwakwani or any of the other communities in the district. Community leaders are concerned that with the rise in social issues in the community, there should be a presence of these officers to render assistance and guidance when necessary. As a result of lack of officers on the community, residents are forced to pay more than $6000 in transportation to visit the Linden office to access services.
The Ministry of Human Service and Social Security’s mission is to contribute to the economic and social development of citizens by formulating policies and programmes to ensure effective delivery of social and welfare services towards the provision of social protection floors for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups among the population.
Single parents and parents of disabled children, continuously complain about applications being made to the Linden Office to access the public assistance programme but would not be acknowledged. Some residents alleged that they were given public assistance but this abruptly stopped without any given explanation.
Residents also alleged that the Probation Officer assigned to the district does not frequently visit the communities to address social issues and matters previously reported are not followed up on. Any visit to the community is done with public notice, hence residents are unable to meet with the officer to share their concerns.
One concerned citizen said, “social matters are prevalent and can appear in the middle of the night, hence it is pertinent that we have these officers who is stationed to the community on site and alert at any given time,” she said. The resident was alluding to child abuse cases, which are prevalent.
On a most recent visit to the community in November 2022, Minister of Social Protection, Dr. Vindhya Persaud made mention of repairing the living accommodations for her team while inviting qualified persons in the community to fill the posts.
When INFO 10 contacted Regional Executive Officer REO Dwight John about rehabilitation of accommodation quarters for officers to be stationed in the community, he said it is in the current budget and contracts for repair works will be awarded shortly or as soon as next week.